Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
We moved to Sparks. I had to transfer.
Solid explanation. Still,
“Why didn’t you call?”
I did. You were grounded. Remember?
That excuse was shakier.
“Not for the last two weeks.”
I wanted to give you some space.
Pregnant pause, giving
himself some space.
Kristina, I know I’m not exactly your type.
I looked him in the eye.
“I don’t think I have a ‘type.’”
I thought it might be the lifeguard type.
Reno wasn’t the “biggest
little city.” It was a
small-town gossip mill.
Not that we have an exclusive thing, I know.
My cheeks burned. “No, we
don’t. But I really like you.”
I needed to hear that. I like you, too. A lot
“I went out with Brendan
because I was flattered.”
I dared to confess, “I never
had a boyfriend until
That’s hard to believe, Kristina.
Taking that totally wrong,
I huffed, “Why?
Because I’m such a slut?”
No. Because you’re so beautiful.
Tell me about last summer.
By the time I finished, I still
loved Adam. But I was falling for Chase.
was I so hot to return
the phone message, waiting
for me to come home?
Give me a call. I want
to see you again. This time
I’ll bring the refreshments.
I’d perched on my
pedestal for a whole week.
How fast could I make it down?
As I Considered My Answer
I noticed Adam’s letter, sitting on the counter.
How’s school? I hope I can make it through this year.
It’s really tough, what with worrying about Mom,
Ralph (can you believe she’d like a guy named Ralph?),
and Lince. She’s talking better now, and can get
herself to the bathroom. I guess that’s good.
I saw your dad the other day. It was kind of strange
because he never even mentioned you. Of course, he
was with a new woman. (Not bad, considering she’s
with your dad. Ha, ha.) Maybe he doesn’t want her
to think he’s old enough to have a daughter your age.
Are you going out with anyone special? Half of me
hopes so. The other half wants you to always be
mine. There’s a pretty cute girl at school, Giselle, giving
me the eye. She looks a little like you, in fact.
I think I might ask her out.
Maybe you didn’t want to hear that But you’re my
very best friend, the only one in the whole world
I could tell that to. I want to hear everything
about you, too. Kind of weird, huh?
So do you have a boyfriend? Is he a jock or what?
(Wink, wink.) How safe are these letters, anyway?
Does your mom read them? I wonder if Giselle
parties. Doesn’t everyone? Okay, maybe not.
Write soon. Love, Adam
He liked some girl named Giselle?
Did she speak French (or just give it)?
Maybe I didn’t want to hear that?
Why did I read his letter anyway?
And what was up with Dad?
Why hadn’t he called?
Was he a Daddy Judas?
Had he sold me out?
Should I call Brendan?
Set myself up?
Would I truly let him be first?
Was I ready to lose the big v?
Should I call Chase instead?
Ask him to score for me?
Would he do it if I asked?
Walk a slender wire for me?
Did I want to risk honor-roll status?
Chance further alienating my mom?
Had I lost my mind completely?
Did I really want to get high?
You Bet I Did
shouted, Where have you been, my
sweet Bree? Hurry back to me.
My blood pressure bloomed, my head
Need rose up, pumping violently
through my veins. All I could
think of, as I reached for the phone
nightstand, were fat ivory lines,
waiting to whisk me to a
netherworld, far beyond my
Chase was “busy” Friday night. So I
did a really intelligent thing.
Called Brendan for a date and
him to make a buy. “Can you get me an
eight ball?” I figured an eighth
of an ounce would last awhile. It cost
$250, which I was saving to buy my
first car. But hey, I probably
wouldn’t have my license
years. Illicit fun settled upon, I put on
my most innocent face and went
to gift my family with half-hearted
I Could Hardly Wait for Friday
Though the voice of my virginity nagged,
the lure of the monster was stronger.
Besides, I could always say “no.”
Pretending to be the perfect gentleman,
Brendan arrived at my door,
introduced himself politely.
We told my mom and Scott we were
going to dinner and a drive-in double feature.
But food and movies were the last
things on our minds.
Not that we necessarily had the same
things on our minds. As we drove up the
mountain, his hand crept up my leg.
I let it do exactly that as I watched for a safe
spot to pull over. We drove back off the highway,
deep into a grove of fresh-scented evergreens.
Carried a blanket back into the trees.
He pulled out a bindle, which looked a bit short,
and a six-pack of beer. For the next twenty minutes,
we snorted and drank, climbing to a very tall buzz.
We talked and joked and giggled.
And it all seemed just like it should.
Until it didn’t anymore.
It Started with a Kiss
Crank-revved, pistons firing full bore,
passion firecrackered in tiny bursts
from thigh to belly button.
I want you so bad
“B-b-bad to the bone?” We laughed,
but it wasn’t a joke. Not for long.
My shirt tore open. “Wait.”
I’ve waited for weeks.
Put up and shut up.
Kisses segued to bites. Bruises.
Pain rippled through my body.
“Brendan, please stop.”
No. You promised,
you damn little tease.
Off came my shorts. Down went
his zipper. I realized I was in
serious trouble. “I’ll scream.”
Go ahead. No one can hear
but skunks and coyotes.
Still, as I opened my mouth, his
hand slapped down over it. Those
You’ll love it.
My brand-new Victoria’s Secrets
shredded, and I felt the worst of
They all love it.
Had he done it a different way, I
might have responded with excitement.
Instead, I froze as he pushed inside.
There it is.
Oh God. There it goes.
It went, all right, with an audible
tear. Pain mushroomed into agony
and all I could do was go stiff.
You weren’t lying,
I laid there, sobbing, as he worked
and sweated over me. Stoked by the
monster, it took him a long time to finish.
Give me a line,
I’ll give you an encore.
He pulled away, sticky and bloody.
Throbbing inside and out, I didn’t move,
didn’t dare look him in the eye.
What the hell
is the matter, Bree?
I stared up at the clouds, gathering
into gloom, shrouding the moon.
“My name is Kristina.”
But It Was Bree
Not a Blink of Remorse
Brendan didn’t say a word
most of the way home. He
drove slowly, just under the
limit. I watched him, out
of the corner of my eye.
He didn’t look so perfect
anymore. His nose had a
bump and his eyebrows
almost joined. And, of course,
I knew what he was made of.
Finally, he found a few words—
his thank you for the gift he had
stolen, the one I should have given
and never could again. I will
remember them forever:
If I’d have known
you’d just lay there,
I wouldn’t have bothered.
Have You Ever
had so much to say
that your mouth closed up tight,
struggling to harness the nuclear force
coalescing within your words?
Have you ever
had so many thoughts
churning inside that you didn’t
dare let them escape,
in case they blew you wide open?
Have you ever
been so angry that you
couldn’t look in the mirror
for fear of finding the face of evil
glaring back at you?
I stared at Brendan,
trying to find some words—
any words—to express
the terror of those minutes,
the horror of his violation,
the humiliation at his benediction.
But my mouth closed up tight
around the nuclear force
thought after thought churning,
the evil in my core threatening
to eviscerate me.
Would you think it a mercy killing?
Brendan Pulled Up
at the foot of my driveway,
didn’t so much as glance my way
until I opened the door
and creaked to the curb.
Then he turned and tossed the
dwindled bindleat my feet.
You owe me $250.
Would you believe
I paid up?
I Stumbled up the Driveway
wanting desperately to shed
the lingering traces of eau de Brendan.
Even messed up, I realized
I couldn’t very well go inside and straight
into the shower.
Someone might wonder.
So I aimed for the hot tub, threw back
the cover, almost gagged on eau de chlorine.
But I didn’t care.
Steamy water bubbled around me, over me,
jetted inside me.
The monster laughed out loud.
Cleansed, chlorinated to the point of chemical
peel, sore muscles relieved,
I felt almost human again.
Tiptoe to my room, up a darkened hall,
past closed doors,
I wondered if I’d ever feel completely human again.
but too buzzed to sleep,
I pulled out some stationary:
Always great to hear from you.
You’re a regular well of information.
Why isn’t any of it ever good?
If you happen to see my dad again,
tell him not to bother keeping in touch.
He’s a shit and I hope his new girlfriend
gives him herpes. Or worse.
How’s it going with Giselle?
(Were her parents on something
when they named her?) I’m sure she
gets high if you’re attracted to her.
Have you two done the dirty yet?
As for me, I’ve got two boyfriends.
One is too busy to keep me out
of trouble. The other just raped me.
I think it was rape, anyway.
Can you define the word for me?
Oops. I think I’m sounding bitter.
Better close now. I need to cry.
(Maybe you didn’t want to hear that.)
Love you, too, K … Bree
It Was Mean
So mean, it made me feel
but not quite good
I could only think of one
to make things all
okay, so maybe it wasn’t
the best way to climb
my mounting state of
but it definitely did
in fact, I had to laugh, it
so simple. I
had to open the bindle
me on behalf of
Close to Empty
We had tooted a lot,
but not an eight ball.
I began to suspect
Brendan had pilfered a bit.
Brendan a thief?
Conservation was the key
to seeing me through until
morning when I cuold
give Chase a call
Conservation, in fact,
might be the solution.
The solution to staying high
and still maintaining my way
through class work, homework,
and family dinners.
I knew I couldn’t
manage it straight.
Couldn’t manage not to sink
into a swamp of self-pity,
for a fractured psyche.
I called for Bree.
my skull, no hope
of sleep or easy
to a plane where memory
could not intrude, I bent my
head, submitting to
Why had I gone? What
had I done? Who would
want me now? How could I
the state of my being or my
part in its disintegration? No
way to elude the bitter bite of
I tried to lay the night’s
events on anyone but myself.
Couldn’t. I had tried to
Brendan, and he had turned
the tables. He was a grand
master player. I was new to
The Game Replayed
over and over
all night lon
like a cable TV horror flick.
I laid in bed, memorizing
every plot twist.
Dust danced in its beams.
The house filled with the everyday.
Nothing, except me.
I whiffed a line of willpower.
Got up, got dressed in
I went into
the kitchen, poured
hot black brew
and lied about my date.
Answer Before They Ask
Great strategy. Mom didn’t even snarl
when I said I was too tired to go
to Jake’s soccer game.
Once I saw her tailpipe, I called Chase.
Thirty minutes later, he chugged up
the driveway. One look, he knew.
What’s the matter, Kristina?
“Too much fun last night. Come inside.”
My mom might have accepted the lie.
Chase knew better.
You’re buzzed. But there’s more.
So much for deceit, for accepting blame.
So much for never telling a soul.
I broke down like rotting rafters.
Tell me what happened.
I told him everything, start to finish,
in minute detail. He gathered me up,
glued me back together.
That bastard. I’ll kill him.
I shook my head, tossing tears and thin
streams of snot. “It was all my fault.”
Chase grabbed my shoulders.
No! Brendan knew what he was doing.
He pulled me so close it hurt, laid
his head against my heaving chest.
Then hard-ass Chase Wagner cried.
Oh, God, I’m sorry, Kristina.
I should have been there for you.
I kissed his forehead,
licked away his tears.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins / Young Adult / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes